2017 Inclusive Practice Award


February 24, 2017


The following news release is shared on behalf of the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Congratulations to the winners, the Service Partners Club, and to our other ASD nominees! 


FOR RELEASE: Immediate
Contact: Christie Reinhardt 907-269-8462 christie.reinhardt@alaska.gov


2017 Inclusive Practice Award


The Governor’s Council on Disabilities & Special Education established the Inclusive Practice Award to recognize outstanding educators who work to ensure students with disabilities have the opportunity for an inclusive education with their peers as part of the general education curriculum. Nominations are made by parents, students and educators and this year included teachers, teams, schools, a paraprofessional, a transition program coordinator, a FASD consultant and a school club. The award is given each February at the Alaska Statewide Special Education Conference (ASSEC). This year’s award was presented Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at a luncheon at the Hilton Hotel in Anchorage. It was attended by almost 300 special educators, administrators, parents, students and advocates from all over the state.


The 2017 winner of the Inclusive Practice Award is the Service High School Partners Club.


The Service High School Partners Club started in 2001. This team is made up of 30 students with intellectual disabilities, 8 staff members, 72 peer teachers and 100 partners that work together on educational goals, life skills activities and community inclusion. Led by Adam Ahonen, The Partners Club works to develop activities that both promote awareness and inclusion. The Partners Club utilizes a unique learning model in which students from the general education population partner with students in the life skills program to be “Peer Teachers”. The Partner’s Club also has a Coffee Shop, a Special Olympics group, and works with multiple sports teams. This has led to a school culture at Service High where students with disabilities are actively included in school assemblies, drama productions, choir, Prom and dances, sporting events and after school activities.


The Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education would like to commend the other 2017 Inclusive Practice Award nominees:


• Monique Christiansen, Palmer Junior Middle School, Palmer
Intensive Needs Program


• Deb Evensen, Homer
FASD educator and consultanat


• Gail Greenhalagh, SERRC, Juneau
Alaska Transition Outcomes Project (ATOP) Coordinator


• Jennifer Hilder and Pam Penrose, Craig Elementary & Craig Middle School, Craig


• Hope School Team, Hope
Patricia Truesdell, Sandra Barron, Diane Olthuis, Eugene, Moseley, and Sara Fortin


• Pauline Johnson, Angoon Elementary, Angoon


• Lisa Kelzenberg, Eagle River High School, Eagle River
Adaptive Physical Education Teacher


• Robyn Meyer, Northwood ABC Elementary, Anchorage
Pre-school teacher


• Nikolaevsk School Instructional Team, Nikolaevsk
Robanne Stading, Jared Copeland, Kelli Hickman, Steve Klaich, Heather Pancratz, Krista Parrett, Michael Sellers, Jeri Trail


• Paul Banks Elementary Special Education Department, Homer
Ray Archuleta, Stephanie Fain, Melissa Gersdorf, Mindy Hunter, Monica Glenn, Donna Sander, Amy Sundheim, Melissa Arno, Vicki Berney, Daniel Bunker, Bobby Copeland-McKinney, Luke Eckert, Anna Germundson, Noreen O’Brien-Dugan, Jennifer Poss, Katy Rice, Kristi Wickstrom


• Katherine Pittman, Glacier Valley Elementary, Juneau
Special Education teacher


• Amanda Rugg, Bowman Elementary, Anchorage
Structured Learning Classroom teacher


• Sally Stockhausen, Kayhi High School, Ketchikan
Teacher and team leader


• Tri-Valley School Team, Healy
JoHanna Sesito, Bonny Hamm and Angelica Hayes, Ivana Haverlikova, Natile Brandt, Erinn Martin, Jennifer Hancock, Sarah Walker, Jody Stamps and Danielle Talerico


• Christine Zelinsky, Dimond High School, Anchorage
Department Chair and Brandy Jones, Steven Odom, Tracie Ashman, and Anne Paley


The Inclusive Practices Award recognizes outstanding educators who work to ensure students with disabilities have the opportunity for an inclusive education in the general education curriculum. The nominations are based on the following activities that assure a positive learning environment for all:

• Involving parents as equal partner in their child’s education
• Promoting inclusive practices that allow students with disabilities to be included within the classroom, with peers and in the school community
• Modifying curricula or providing support services that enables access to the regular curriculum or classroom


If you know any of these great educators please be sure and congratulate them on their amazing job of educating children with all different kinds of abilities!

Anchorage School District website accessibility and nondiscrimination notice. The Anchorage School District is an equal opportunity provider.